Guides Health and Fitness Lifestyle

Super hero latest hearing aid : Affordable and Quality

As we grow older, there is a high tendency that we lose our sense of hearing. It is considered as one of the most common conditions that affect older people and even elderly adults. Based on studies, about 1 in 3 people in the US aged from 65 and 75 have hearing loss or having […]

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Debt Settlement Organization Comparison

Debt Settlement is done by those consumers which are in heavy debt and need relief. In such a case, the distressed consumer may contact a Debt Settlement company which arranges for a meeting between creditor and debtor. In the meeting, both the parties usually agree on the payment of a smaller amount of debt that shall be considered final. However, consumers must research wisely regarding Debt Settlement companies in detail.

Despite any hardship, a consumer must not be desperate or fall for any offer that pops up in front of him/her.

Compare Debt Settlement Companies – Best Results

There are many ways to compare different Debt Settlement Companies. A consumer can check with other companies if the fee and terms of the agreement are different or not. Consumers can find a lot of information this way and actually move towards finding the best deal and the best Debt Settlement Company. A consumer may get the performance and reputation record of the Debt Settlement company from the Better Business Bureau.

Take Help from the Better Business Bureau

Better Business Bureau shall help the consumer in analyzing the Debt Settlement Company to a great extent.

They shall provide substantial records of the company`s consumers and their financial reports. A consumer can then determine which organization to work with, without spending extra money on poor performing companies.

Compare Debt Settlement Company before Agreement

It is advised to all consumers to check and compare the Debt Settlement Company before signing any agreement with them. Consumers must also have a fair idea of what Debt Negotiation and Debt Consolidation actually are. The actual performance of any Debt Settlement Company can be assessed by asking those people who have worked with the company.

How to Compare Debt Settlement Companies

Consumers can also have an idea of the service provided by a Debt Settlement Company by comparing the strategy they use for debt settlement. A consumer can also compare the number of complaints that were filed by consumers for that specific company. This complaint can be recorded and then compared with those of other companies.

Choose Ideal Debt Settlement Company by Comparison

A consumer must put faith in an honest Debt Settlement company which promises to deliver quality performance. While some people get trapped in debt due to a lack of discipline in spending, many people face emergencies and face the problem of debt. Debt Settlement companies must honor all their clients and work with them for future betterment. A consumer must study all of his/her available options before finalizing any one.

Debt Consolidation – Debt Elimination

Consolidation for debt can give an individual control over his liabilities. Consolidation plans for debt allow a consumer to schedule monthly repayments and reconsider all present options. Consumers who are not able to repay debt can highly benefit from this service.

Debt Consolidation

Consolidation for debt provides the perfect opportunity to consumers for eliminating the debt in a lump sum as well. It is up to the consumer to decide which option to consider.

Consolidation for Debt – Debt Management

Over-due bills can create a very frustrating atmosphere in between the family members. It is understandable that financial crisis can occur to any person. Consumers who find consolidation for debt an easy and effective method of help are advised to start research. The best place to start the research is internet. Internet can provide a consumer with all the information that is needed. All consolidation companies can also be researched easily.

Debt Elimination for People In Debt

Consumers who need help in eliminating/reducing debt can take assistance from consolidation companies. These companies offer debt reduction or elimination services. Debt consolidation is easy and saves time and money. Through this method, a consumer can release excessive liabilities and life a financially independent life.

Different Consolidation Plans for Debt

Financial experts and professionals regard consolidation for debt as an easy way out of debt. Majority of consumers in debt take aid from consolidation for debt programs.

Consolidation for debt is a wide service and there are different plans available for different people. Every in debtor has a different situation to manage.

Debt Consolidation Loans – Low Interest Loans

Consolidation companies provide a low interest loan to consumers for repayment of other liabilities. This debt is paid through monthly installments. Instead of making several repayments for different loans, only one repayment is then made. The original debt is eliminated completely. All credit card and small personal loans can be paid off in this manner.

Benefits of Debt Consolidation Loans

Debt consolidation loans give consumer a chance to save money. A lot of money can be saved if interest rates on other loans are no more to be paid. Consolidation loans also help in improving the Credit report. When repayments are made regularly for the consolidation loan, the credit report also slowly improves.

Working With Credit Management Companies

Credit counseling services can also help consumers in positively managing their finances. Working with a credit or consolidation agency may need a small fee while applying. Before working with any agency, consumers must ensure that the company is reputable. Consumers must take a wise decision by consultation of family and friends.

Debt Consultation By Freedom Debt Centre

Growing needs of mankind have resulted in more demand for money and different procedures for revenue generation have evolved. Borrowing is no longer a shame; rather it has become the guiding force behind many successful businesses. A large number of leasing companies have come up that offer the loans at attractive packages.

But a large number of leasing companies has increased burden for financial management and a client has to keep a track of all his debts. Freedom Debt Centre is an institution that has revolutionized debt management and consolidation.

Freedom Debt Centre

Freedom Debt Centre is located at 3 Whitney, Suite 200, Irvine. The company was established in 2007 and since then it has been up to its task. The company has started as a small enterprise but with clear goals and mission, the company has expanded itself all across the USA. The company is offering very attractive packages to its clients and the clients have the freedom to choose one of their choices.

Services Offered By Freedom Debt Centre

Freedom Debt Centre has the basic aim of facilitating its clients in managing their loans. To this end, the company is providing numerous services. Few of the salient services are:-

Debt Management Programme

The debt management programme offered by the Freedom Debt Centre is of 12-36 months duration. The company manages the debts of the clients for the said duration for a nominal fee. The company takes complete responsibility for paying back the debt as per your debt plan and the customer is free of the hassle of maintaining records of payments.

Debt Negotiations

The Freedom Debt Centre prides itself in excellent negotiation skills of its employees. The company offers debt negotiations for the clients in trouble and they are sure to get you a bit of relief by their expert advice. The company is helping its clients to become debt free and earned complete customer satisfaction.

Debt Consultation

The significant feature of Freedom Debt Centre remains the consultancy service for its clients. The company maintains an up to date data of its dealings as required by the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators and this has a great impact on fighting the debt issues of the clients.

Contact Information
3 Whatney, Suite 200
Irvine, CA 92618
Phone: 1-877-833-3280

Heroin seizure near Raton in 2008 among nation’s biggest that year; After mistrial, evidence appeal, Texas man convicted

A Texas man arrested five years ago near Raton when 32 pounds of heroin — with an estimated street value of at least $2.9 million — were discovered hidden in the vehicle he was driving was convicted in federal court Friday of drug trafficking in what a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration official testified was one of the agency’s top 10 heroin seizures in the United States in 2008 in terms of weight.

The federal jury in Santa Fe found Francisco Burciaga, 43, of El Paso, Texas, guilty of possession of heroin with intent to distribute. The four-day trial ended when the jury took just 30 minutes to declare its verdict.

Burciaga was arrested June 24, 2008, during a traffic stop on Interstate 25 at the south end of Raton. Burciaga, who was traveling alone, was driving an SUV northbound when he was pulled over just before 6 a.m. by New Mexico Motor Transportation Police Officer John Valdez for failing to use a turn signal correctly.

A chemical odor from the SUV led Valdez to ask Burciaga if he had anything illegal in the vehicle, according to court documents and trial testimony described in a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which described Burciaga responding by saying “You can take a look” and opening the vehicle’s hatchback. Soon after, a New Mexico State Police officer arrived to assist and noticed fresh tool marks and spray paint on the underside of the vehicle and its back bumper area, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The officers called for the assistance of a narcotics dog from the Raton Police Department and the dog reacted to the back bumper area of the vehicle.

When the officers removed the back bumper from the SUV, they found a hidden compartment containing 24 sealed packages of a white powdery substance. Subsequent laboratory analysis revealed the packages contained 32 pounds of heroin that were 72-percent pure, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

An official from the DEA’s Intelligence Division in Washington, D.C., testified at last week’s trial that the heroin seized from Burciaga was intended to be delivered to Chicago, where the conservative street value of that amount of heroin in 2008 was at least $2.9 million. The weight of the drugs made the bust one of the DEA’s top 10 heroin seizures of that year, the official testified.

Burciaga, who has been in federal custody since his 2008 arrest in Colfax County, testified last week that he was unaware the heroin was in his vehicle and suggested he was an unwitting carrier, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In addition to the chemical odor coming from the SUV during the traffic stop, other factors that raised Valdez’s suspicions, according to court documents, were the facts that Burciaga had a Texas driver’s license, but the SUV was registered to him at a Phoenix address, and the SUV had been registered and insured to Burciaga only the day before the traffic stop near Raton.

A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled. Burciaga faces 20 years to life in prison as a result of last week’s conviction being paired with sentencing enhancements resulting from a 1996 drug trafficking conviction in a Texas state court.

Burciaga was indicted in July 2008 in connection to the heroin discovery near Raton. A trial in November 2010 ended when the judge declared a mistrial after a prosecutor inappropriately questioned Burciaga on the witness stand about a plea agreement his attorney offered before the case went to trial. Court documents show the judge found that federal rules of evidence prohibit such matters from being presented as evidence against a defendant. Following the mistrial, proceedings in the case stayed during an appeal regarding other evidence in the case. The retrial of Burciaga began last Tuesday.

My Hitch Story

One of the things about Christopher Hitchens is that he got around so much, knew so many people, and made such a vivid impression, that just about everybody is offering a remembrance today. Here’s mine:

In 2007, I was invited to speak at the Amazing Meeting, a conference of skeptics held every year in Las Vegas in honor of James (aka The Amazing) Randi, magician, debunker, and skeptic. I was delighted to be invited because all kinds of cool people show up there every year, including Penn and Teller, Adam Savage, Phil “Bad Astronomer” Plait, and of course Hitchens, who seemingly never turned down an invitation to speak, drink, and argue. (As a man who travels a fair bit, I am in awe of how much Hitchens got around.)

His presentation was terrific, and I particularly remember the All-Speakers Panel at the end, when we all got up on stage and took questions from the audience. One panelist — I think it was Scott Dikkers, editor of the Onion, though I may well be wrong — suggested that perhaps it was dumb for the US to be “at war with Islam,” and Hitchens, in just the way a lion notices a limp gazelle stroll in front of it, responded “Well, Islam is certainly at war with us,” and proceeded to eviscerate the poor man. As the little boy says in Jurassic Park, “Look at all the blood…:”

But: the prior night, I had had my own Hitchens time. A few of us were given tickets by Penn Jillette to come to see his show with Teller, and Hitchens piled into conference attendee’s Scott Hurst’s BMW (which, graciously, Scott let me drive) and headed over to the Rio. Hitch didn’t really know who I was but lit up when I mentioned I had gone to college with his old friend Andrew Sullivan. I should also say the sight of my attractive wife seemed to increase his illumination. (Beth’s judgment: “Terrible flirt,” with “terrible” meaning “good.”)

The show was terrific and had been told that Penn and Teller always invited their guests back to a special lounge they had behind the theater, just for that purpose, so we should absolutely hang around post-show for that invitation. However, as Hitch, Beth and I walked into the lobby, we saw that Penn and Teller had come out (as is their gracious habit) to greet the entire audience as it left the theater, and Hitch made a mental calculation how long it would take for them to work the crowd, didn’t like the number he arrived at and said “Come on, let’s go get a drink.”

And so we did, heading to the nearest casino bar. I told him as we walked I had been experimenting with the proper martini recipe, and he told me that he once did an assignment as a Cocktail Taste Tester for one magazine or another, drinking gallons of the stuff, and learned all kinds of interesting points about gin, vermouth, and the relationship thereof. (Not for the first time in this account, I will regret not taking contemporaneous notes.) The bartender turned his attention to me, and I ordered three martinis, as per Hitch’s well-researched perfect recipe, and he cried, “Oh, God no, not for me. I’ll never drink that awful stuff again. I’ll have a Scotch, please, a double.”

So we talked and drank, with my thoughts being drowned out by the inner voice, “OH, BOY, IM HAVING DRINKS WITH CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS.” We talked about the Iraq War, then in its fifth disastrous year, and which he famously and aggressively supported. I was not fooled enough to argue with him, but I did inquire, gently, as to certain aspects of the war which, perhaps, had not gone as well as he and other supporters had hoped or even predicted. “I will admit it could have been handled better,” he said, which is much as a concession as I had ever heard him make on that topic. He did say something which stuck with me: “I’m just glad we’re at war with someone.” That’s not quite as callous as it sounds here, without context… what he meant was that he saw militant Islam as a grave threat to Western Civilization and that he was glad that the West had finally given battle. One could argue that the “someone” in whose front yard the war happened to be fought wouldn’t share his gladness of its commencement, but again, as I said, I chose not to be that “one,” not then.

Eventually, after much chat (see note about regret re notes) and drinking and smoking we walked back to the Penn and Teller Theater and of course everyone was gone… we had missed our chance to see the Secret Lounge. By this time it was near 1 in the morning, and the three of us caught a cab together back to our casino. Beth and I headed to our hotel room… Hitch, 16 years my senior, headed off to a party some of the younger conference goers were throwing, where I’m told he danced and drank till dawn.

We talked that night about having him on Wait Wait but never did it. I’m not sure I regret it… three silly questions do not seem the sort of foolishness he would have suffered gladly, and I’m grateful I got to spend some time with him in his natural element, near a bar, with a drink and a smoke, with diversions and arguments ahead and behind.

Activities at the Kona Coast Resort

Located in the resort town of Keauhou on the Big Island’s leeward coast, Kona Coast Resort presents 267 air-conditioned villas near beautiful Keauhou Bay. Located within walking distance to nearby shops, a movie theater, restaurants, a golf course and ocean activities, the resort also offers many on-site activities that will keep the family entertained for the duration of your vacation.

Kona Country Club
Located adjacent to the resort, Kona Country Club presents a 36-hole championship golf course featuring a mountain and ocean course. In years past, the club has hosted the LPGA tour with the likes of golfing legends Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb and more.

Kona Country Club
Alii Drive
Keauhou, HI 96739
(808) 322-2595

Snorkel Cruise
Kona’s most popular snorkel cruise leaves twice daily from Keauhou Bay on route to nearby Kealakekua Bay. Providing all necessary snorkel gear, the Fair Wind cruise also offers a barbecue lunch on deck including grilled hamburgers and salads.

78-7130 Kaleiopapa St.
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
(808) 322-2788

Watch Manta Rays
The nearby Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa offers the best place in Kona to observe manta rays at night. With lights shining down on the surf, the resort attracts the magnificent creatures within viewing distance of the lanai at the Crystal Blue lounge, where tropical cocktails are served nightly.

Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa
78-128 Ehukai Street
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740
(808) 930-4900

Picnic at Keauhou Bay
With coconut palms flickering in the breeze, Keauhou Bay is the ideal spot for bringing a picnic lunch or dinner. Watch the local outrigger canoe club train in the bay, play beach volleyball in the sand, or simply enjoy a beautiful sunset at one of Kona’s most scenic areas.

Shopping Center
Within walking distance to the resort, Keauhou Shopping Center includes a KTA grocery store, Long’s Drug store, several cafes and restaurants and a movie theater. On selected weekends, the shopping center features top Hawaiian recording artists in concert in the parking lot.

Nearby Kahaluu Beach Park presents stellar snorkeling opportunities in a calm, protected bay. Beginning surfers can also test the waves outside the reef. A surfing heiau, or temple, is located on the lava bluffs overlooking the bay.

Archeological Sites
Ancient Hawaii comes alive in the vicinity of the resort, where such sites as a holua slide and old, stone temples can be seen in the distance, along with the battleground where Hawaii’s ancient religion was overthrown in 1819.

The Saga of Sleepy Frownin’ Jodes

In my two decades (plus change) on this earth, I have learned that time goes quickly if you’re doing something. Whether this is having fun or entering data into Excel spreadsheets, it does not matter. All that matters is that you are too busy to look at the clock every two minutes and think, “That’s it? Only two minutes has passed since I looked at the clock what seemed like nine hours ago?!” and if you’re me, that pisses you off. The work that I do has become easier with every day that I trim the fat and effectively organize (I’m not trying to brag…I’m just pretty sweet at administrating an office), and this work was very easy, to begin with, human element excepted.

Two or three hours into my workday, I usually find myself staring at my computer screen, having looked at the entire Internet, making my fingers into a gun and pointing it at my head. Don’t worry, it’s not loaded, and I don’t believe in suicide. Still: how is it only six o’fucking clock?

I decided that I might as well write a blog. I know I haven’t done it in a while. It’s not that I’ve had nothing to say, or that I’ve been too busy, it’s that every time I have cracked the ol’ knucks and given it a go, I have drawn blanks left and right. In other news, I finished writing a novel. Just kidding, I didn’t do that either.

So, let’s see. What’s new? Well, I moved again. I’ve lived in New York for less than three years and I have lived in four different apartments. This was an exciting one, not only because it’s the first apartment where I don’t have to rely on the G as my only train (don’t worry…the G is still around. I just don’t ever have to take it ever again if I don’t want, thankfully), but also because I moved in with the fella. We’re shacking up. Living in sin. Cohabiting. It’s pretty awesome. We have a lot of laughs, and both Vince and Jesse seem to love what I’ve done with the bathroom.

NOT! I would run with that wonderful theme, but unfortunately, it wouldn’t go with the portrait of Eric Bischoff that is hanging in front of the toilet. This is not a joke.

What else? What else besides that? I started jogging, for one. A week ago. I’m not really one for sticking with things. I’ve had a lot of hobbies in my life, a lot of discarded ambitions. And, I’m one of the least athletic people I know. In my school days, I played almost every sport I could, and never became good at any of them. Mostly because I was just doing it because my pals were doing it, and mostly because I never paid attention when I was supposed to be learning the rules. I was usually looking at all of the other kids, looking around the gym, digging at the dirt with the toe of my shoe, hoping I wouldn’t totally suck when it was time to actually play. Also, though, I’m just not physically graceful. Everyday living leaves me bruised. I run into things. I smack my hands on tables because I’m flopping them around too much. These things really happen.

This makes the choice to take up jogging a curious one. I decided I needed to start exercising because of all of the mopey shit (I think it’s called…depression? Does that sound right?) I’m always up to. So far, it’s been pretty cool. I enlisted the help of Vincent to wake me up in the morning and make me stick to it, which is an extremely tall order. He’s a saint for challenging the beast known as “Sleepy Frownin’ Jones,” who is my morning time alter-ego.

The first day I shuffled very slowly, for a very short amount of time, and had to practically crawl up the stairs to my apartment, only to feel like I was going to barf everywhere. And then I barfed everywhere. Ok, not everywhere, but I did barf. Each day after has gotten better, and though I’m only a week in, I find myself looking forward to it. We’ll see.

Lastly, I would like to call to your attention the blog of my favorite (and not just because he’s my only) little brother’s blog. It’s called Tyler’s Week in Review, and it’s genuinely funny. I’m constantly amazed at how this tiny little baby I used to hold is now taller than me and a burgeoning young writer. So please, check it out and tell him how cool he is.

Breast Surgery and the Side Effects

If your doctor recommends surgery for treatment of breast cancer, you have the option to ask questions before you have the procedure. You will want to know which surgery your doctor recommends, how long will your stay in the hospital be, and is a partial mastectomy a possibility? What about lymph nodes, will they be removed, how many, and why are they being removed?

How will you feel before, during, and after surgery? How long will your hospital stay be? Other questions you may want to ask are, will you need to take care of your incision? What will the scars look like? Will you have a full range of motion in your shoulder and arm if lymph nodes are removed? Are there special exercises to do? What about special care for the underarm and breast area? Someone who has already had the surgery and recovered may answer these questions. Always know the facts before you have surgery. You will want to know the expected recovery time, and any limits you will have on physical activity.

Once you have had surgery, you may feel out of balance with your body. If you have a breast removed, it may take time for you to adjust to the change in your body, especially if your breasts are large. It may cause extra discomfort or pain in your upper back and neck, and your muscles may feel stiff and weak. You will be referred to a physical therapist that will suggest exercises and ways to regain movement and strength in the surgery area. Exercise can help reduce pain and stiffness in the arm and breast.

Removing lymph nodes require you to take special care of your arm and hand for the rest of your life. Removing the nodes also restricts the flow of fluid and it may build up in your arm and hand causing swelling. Protecting your arm will become a major priority. You will need to carry heavy purses or luggage with the unaffected arm and avoid tight clothing or jewelry on the arm that swells. When having shots, medical procedures, or blood pressure readings, always use the unaffected arm. It is also important to protect your hands if using harsh detergents or gardening. Wearing gloves is recommended for these activities. Avoid sunburns, and take special care when cutting nails and cuticles on the swollen arm. Use an electric razor when shaving under the arms to avoid nicks or injury.

If lymphedema, or swelling of the lymph nodes occurs, your doctor may recommend wearing an elastic sleeve to improve circulation. Raising their arm over their head, and using medication, massage, or a machine that helps removed fluid from the affected area.

Many different things can cause the retaining of fluid in the arm. The weather, clothing, injury, and physical activity all will have an impact on fluid retention after lymph nodes are removed. Always contact your doctor if your arm is injured, is abnormally swollen, or if your arm feels red and warm. Special care should be given to your arm if you are bitten by an insect, have a cut, sunburn, or another injury to your arm.

Belly Fat

If you’re struggling with excess belly fat, you’re not alone. The vast majority of people worry about the unsightly appearance of that waistline bulge. However, belly fat is more than just unattractive, it’s very harmful to your health.

In fact, stomach fat is the most dangerous type of fat you can have. There are actually two types of fat in your abdominal area. One is subcutaneous fat, which is the layer of fat just under your skin that covers up those coveted abdominal muscles. The other is visceral, which is abdominal fat surrounding your organs. You’ll often see this type of fat described as a beer belly on men. Although it sticks out and appears flabby, it actually feels hard to the touch. Visceral fat is the most dangerous of the two types of stomach fat. This has to do with the release of more inflammatory molecules into the body.

Whether one is more dangerous than others is irrelevant because both are serious danger signs. Belly fat is linked to cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and much more. If you care about the quality of your life and about living at all, then you must address this issue immediately.

We’ve put together some articles below that will get you started. And we’ll be expanding this section so bookmark this page. Also, if you haven’t done so already, sign up in the form in the upper right corner of this page to download our fantastic e-book – “45 Fantastic Ways to Lose Calories” – FREE of charge (a $27 value). Get a jump start on attacking that belly fat! By the way, you can download with peace of mind. We hate spam and won’t give your email address to anyone for any reason!

Get Rid of Belly Fat
Learn three top tips to get rid of belly fat. Your life will thank you.

Belly Fat Diet
Get rid of belly fat through a belly fat diet? Learn the surprising facts about targeting stomach fat and a couple of “health foods” that are making your midsection fat, very fast.

How To Get A Flat Belly
More hot tips on getting rid of belly fat. In fact, we even suggest you relax to lose weight. Say what?

Love Handles
Discover how to do away with this unsightly fat and why you just might want to jump on that immediately.

High School Decisions…

Lauren, guest teen blogger

It’s the beginning of eighth grade and everyone seems to be talking about high school. The teachers are all talking about how different high school will be and that no one will be there to “hold our hands”. The high school fair is coming up where schools in the area come to talk to us. But, most of all it’s the students talking about which high school they plan to attend. Our town doesn’t have our own high school, so we send to another school in a neighboring town. I think because of that, many students feel they want to attend private schools or at least not the public school our district feeds to. Around here there are some other good options. We have many different county schools that are free and a great education, but there you lack the normal high school experience and you need to be willing to specialize. There’s a county school that’s great for technology, one for if you want to be a doctor, one for marine and ocean sciences, and several more. Then, there are extremely competitive, private, non-religious schools, which cost a fortune. Finally, there are Catholic schools that aren’t really such great schools and are pretty expensive. Those are the main schools other than the public school that students attend.

So the question is “why does it seem to be such a hard decision?” For many girls, I think they may be intimidated by the big public high school which is also fed into by another school where the kids seem to be a bit tougher. Since my brother is already attending, I’m not that worried about that. So, for me, it’s either the standard public high school or this county school for technology. I want the “normal high school experience”, but the technology school offers a great education (for free!) and I’m really interested in what they have to offer. So what do you guys think about the high school decision?

Rach, the “teen”

First let me tell you this: the teachers who tell you that high school is different (read: way hard), those teachers are lying to you. Freshman year is all about teachers helping you. Being a freshman is kind of like being in a big prep class for the rest of high school. Unless you’re planning on taking all AP classes, you’ll be fine. High school isn’t as hard as they say.

When it comes to specialized high schools, I think they are a terrible idea. Like, fantastically bad. That is when I was 13, and going into high school, I had no idea what I wanted to be. At least, I would certainly not have expected to be interested in so many things. I think specializing that early is bad for the majority of kids.

Think of it like this, when I was nine, I wanted to be an astronaut. At 15, I desperately wanted to be an artist. Now, at 18, I have no idea what I want from my life. When you were nine, what did you want to be? If you choose the specialized school, you get a very specific education that may fit in with what you want now, but it might or might not fit in with what you want later. Like me and being an astronaut, I would have been seriously regretting that decision now, had I chosen then to go into science. Or into a specialized art school at 15. Rounded is good.

So, right now you’ve got to choose between a classic high school experience and one that is more fitted to what you might want in a career. If you were my real sister, I would encourage you to go to public school.

Brad, the “dad”

Way, way, way back in the Triassic when I went to high school, there wasn’t any choice at all. There was the public high school nearest to you – no intradistrict transfers back then, let me tell you – and there was the Catholic high school that was for actual Catholics. But now? For both my daughters, we had to struggle with far too many choices, and that’s not unusual. So welcome to the party, Lauren. Sorry.

I have to agree with Rach here: a lot of the scare-talk about how different and huge and terrifying high school will be is exactly that: scare-talk. Only those afflicted with genius or obsession should even think about single-subject schools (and that’s a much, much smaller group than you think. P.S. You’re not one of them). On the other hand, the idea of a “real high school experience” is equally fantastical. Our li’l ones went (are going) to a project-based high school that’s far from home and has only about 400 kids, and we agonized about the same thing: will they get a “real” high school experience in such a small, non-neighborhoody place? And it’s true, there isn’t a cheerleading squad or a CIF football team there, but The Girls didn’t suffer (they wouldn’t have been cheerleaders or quarterbacks anyway); today they are socially well-adjusted, and so far there’s been no difficulty in getting into college. So what is a “real high school experience,” anyway? My observation? It’s the one you have, not the one you see on TV or other people tell you about (that, after all, is their “real high school experience”).

My advice: ask everybody you know, with kids in and recently out of high school, for recommendations. If you’re lucky, there will be some options within your public school district. But check out charter schools, open-enrollment church-based schools, any private schools you can honestly afford. You’ll find that almost all of them offer you a chance to “shadow” a current student for a full day – not just to go on a tour and get a sales pitch, but to actually attend classes, hang out at lunch, talk to the current students. (And if they don’t offer that kind of access…cross them off the list.) Then choose the one (or ones – options, always options!) that ‘feels’ the most comfortable.

And most important of all: don’t worry about it, no matter what those icky grown-ups and teachers say. The experience you’ll have in high school will have as much to do with you, and how you approach it, as it does with the school itself…and if you go in next Fall determined to enjoy yourself, learn what you can, and move on to college in a few years, you’ll be fine. In fact, you’ll be great.

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